Although Northern Pacific streamlined the North Coast Limited in 1948, the train remained on the older, slower schedule until November, 1952. As reflected in this 1953 timetable, at that time it speeded up the North Coast Limited and replaced the Alaskan with the partly streamlined Mainstreeter. It also changed the numbers of the North Coast Limited from 1 & 2 to 25 & 26, probably so the same train numbers could be used through to Chicago on the Burlington–the Empire Builder changed to numbers 1 and 2 to 31 and 32 at about the same time. The Mainstreeter, which didn’t go through to Chicago, became trains 1 & 2.
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Kansas City passengers heading for the Northwest could still take a Burlington train to Billings, connecting with the Mainstreeter in both directions. The connections, however, were even less convenient than they were in 1949, with no through cars and a better-than-eight-hour layover in Billings in both directions. This might not have been terrible if the layover were during the day, but the westbound train to Seattle left at 4:25 am after an 8:00 pm arrival from Kansas City, while the eastbound train to Kansas City left at 9:00 am after a 1:45 am arrival from Seattle.
The local trains previously numbered 7 and 8, which had connected St. Paul with Glendive, Montana in the 1926 timetable and cut back to St. Paul-Fargo by the time of the 1949 timetable, were renumbered 3 and 4 and restored to St. Paul-Glendive by 1953. The 1953 timetable still had a day train, numbers 5 and 6, from Spokane to Seattle, countering the North Coast Limited and Mainstreeter, which were overnight on this segment.
Another local train, 305 and 306, connected Paradise, Montana, with Spokane. These numbered had designated a motorcar from Kootenai to Spokane in 1926 and wasn’t on the 1949 timetable at all. The 1953 timetable doesn’t say whether this is a motorcar or train, but it does say that there is no baggage handling on Sundays. Buses provided other local service in various segments between Glendive and Paradise.
At the same time as it speeded up the North Coast Limited, NP began painting this train and its other passenger equipment in the new two-tone green colors selected by Raymond Loewy. This repainting would be completed in 1955; strangely, there are few photos of the North Coast Limited in mixed colors. NP also announced that it would purchase four dome cars for each train which would be delivered in 1954.